Although brain injury after neonatal encephalopathy has been characterised well in high-income countries, little is known about such injury in low- and middle-income countries. Such injury accounts for an estimated 1 million neonatal deaths per year. We used magnetic resonance (MR) biomarkers to characterise perinatal brain injury, and examined early childhood outcomes in South India.
We recruited consecutive term or near term infants with evidence of perinatal asphyxia and a Thompson encephalopathy score ≥6 within 6 h of birth, over 6 months. We performed conventional MR imaging, diffusion tensor MR imaging and thalamic proton MR spectroscopy within 3 weeks of birth. We computed group-wise differences in white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) using tract based spatial statistics. We allocated Sarnat encephalopathy stage aged 3 days, and evaluated neurodevelopmental outcomes aged 3½ years using Bayley III.
Of the 54 neonates recruited, Sarnat staging was mild in 30 (56%); moderate in 15 (28%) and severe in 6 (11%), with no encephalopathy in 3 (6%). Six infants died. Of the 48 survivors, 44 had images available for analysis. In these infants, imaging indicated perinatal rather than established antenatal origins to injury. Abnormalities were frequently observed in white matter (n = 40, 91%) and cortex (n = 31, 70%) while only 12 (27%) had abnormal basal ganglia/thalami. Reduced white matter FA was associated with Sarnat stage, deep grey nuclear injury, and MR spectroscopy N-acetylaspartate/choline, but not early Thompson scores. Outcome data were obtained in 44 infants (81%) with 38 (79%) survivors examined aged 3½ years; of these, 16 (42%) had adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes.
No infants had evidence for established brain lesions, suggesting potentially treatable perinatal origins. White matter injury was more common than deep brain nuclei injury. Our results support the need for rigorous evaluation of the efficacy of rescue hypothermic neuroprotection in low- and middle-income countries.
To evaluate characteristics of unimpaired outcome in ELBW survivors.
ELBW infants (n=714) with 30 months’ assessments were analyzed. Logistic regression was used to develop a model for the binary outcome of unimpaired versus impaired outcome.
Thirty-three percent of infants had an unimpaired outcome. 17% of ELBW survivors had a Bayley II Mental Developmental Index score of ≥101 and 2% had a score of ≥116. Female gender, use of antenatal steroids, maternal education ≥ high school and absence of major neonatal morbidities were independent predictors of unimpaired outcome. The likelihood of an unimpaired outcome in presence of major neonatal morbidities was higher in infants exposed to antenatal steroids.
The majority of unimpaired ELBW survivors had cognitive scores shifted towards the lower end of the normal distribution. Exposure to antenatal steroids was associated with higher likelihood of an unimpaired outcome in infants with major neonatal morbidities.
extremely low birth weight; unimpaired outcome; outcome; antenatal steroids; cerebral palsy
We determined the role of risk and protective factors on the trajectories of behavior problems associated with high prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE)/polydrug exposure.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study enrolled 1388 children with or without PCE, assessed through age 15 years. Because most women using cocaine during pregnancy also used other substances, we analyzed for the effects of 4 categories of prenatal drug exposure: high PCE/other drugs (OD), some PCE/OD, OD/no PCE, and no PCE/no OD. Risks and protective factors at individual, family, and community levels that may be associated with behavior outcomes were entered stepwise into latent growth curve models, then replaced by cumulative risk and protective indexes, and finally by a combination of levels of risk and protective indexes. Main outcome measures were the trajectories of externalizing, internalizing, total behavior, and attention problems scores from the Child Behavior Checklist (parent).
A total of 1022 (73.6%) children had known outcomes. High PCE/OD significantly predicted externalizing, total, and attention problems when considering the balance between risk and protective indexes. Some PCE/OD predicted externalizing and attention problems. OD/no PCE also predicted behavior outcomes except for internalizing behavior. High level of protective factors was associated with declining trajectories of problem behavior scores over time, independent of drug exposure and risk index scores.
High PCE/OD is a significant risk for behavior problems in adolescence; protective factors may attenuate its detrimental effects. Clinical practice and public health policies should consider enhancing protective factors while minimizing risks to improve outcomes of drug-exposed children.
behavior problems; cumulative risks; prenatal cocaine exposure; protective factors
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of massage therapy (MT) on the immune system of preterm infants. The primary hypothesis was that MT compared with sham therapy (control) will enhance the immune system of stable premature infants by increasing the proportion of their natural killer (NK) cell numbers.
A randomized placebo-controlled trial of MT versus sham therapy (control) was conducted among stable premature infants in the NICU. Study intervention was provided 5 days per week until hospital discharge for a maximum of 4 weeks. Immunologic evaluations (absolute NK cells, T and B cells, T cell subsets, and NK cytotoxicity), weight, number of infections, and length of hospital stay were also evaluated.
The study enrolled 120 infants (58 massage; 62 control). At the end of the study, absolute NK cells were not different between the 2 groups; however, NK cytotoxicity was higher in the massage group, particularly among those who received ≥5 consecutive days of study intervention compared with control (13.79 vs 10 lytic units, respectively; P = .04). Infants in the massage group were heavier at end of study and had greater daily weight gain compared with those in the control group; other immunologic parameters, number of infections, and length of stay were not different between the 2 groups.
In this study, MT administered to stable preterm infants was associated with higher NK cytotoxicity and more daily weight gain. MT may improve the overall outcome of these infants. Larger studies are needed.
immune system; natural killer cells; massage; mode of delivery; preterm infants; weight gain
Neonatal Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy in full term infants has been associated with a high risk for morbidity and mortality. The patho-physiology of brain injury following hypoxia-ischemia, noted in preclinical models, is a cascade of events resulting from excitotoxic and oxidative injury culminating in cell death. Hypothermia has been noted to be protective by inhibiting various events in the cascade of injury. Major randomized clinical trials in neonatal HIE have demonstrated reduction in death and disability and continued safety and efficacy of neuroprotection in childhood. There is now clinical and imaging evidence for hypothermia as neuroprotection. Hypothermia should be offered to term infants with either severe acidosis at birth or resuscitation needing continued ventilation and evidence of either moderate or severe encephalopathy within 6 hours of birth. The target temperature should be 33° to 34 °C and duration of cooling should be 72 hours, as per the published trials. Rewarming should be slow, at 0.5 °C per hour. Infants should have serial neurological examinations during and at the end of cooling and at discharge. Multiorgan function should be supported and hypocarbia should be avoided during ventilator therapy. If available, the amplitude integrated EEG should be obtained prior to cooling and following rewarming. All infants should have magnetic resonance brain imaging studies within 1 to 2 weeks of age. Information from the neurological examination, aEEG and MRI studies will be helpful in discussing prognosis with parents. All infants should be followed for a minimum of 18 months to evaluate growth parameters and neurodevelopment al outcome.
Therapeutic hypothermia; Neonatal encephalopathy; Term infants; Neonatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy; Pathophysiology; Neurodevelopmental outcome; Neuroprotection; Head cooling; Whole body cooling; Randomized controlled trials; Knowledge gaps; Adjuvant therapies; Treatment
Little is known about the outcomes of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) preterm infants with congenital heart defects (CHDs). The aim of this study was to assess the mortality, morbidity, and early childhood outcomes of ELBW infants with isolated CHD compared with infants with no congenital defects. Participants were 401–1,000 g infants cared for at National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network centers between January 1, 1998 and December 31, 2005. Neonatal morbidities and 18–22 months’ corrected age outcomes were assessed. Neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI) was defined as moderate to severe cerebral palsy, Bayley II mental or psychomotor developmental index < 70, bilateral blindness, or hearing impairment requiring aids. Poisson regression models were used to estimate relative risks for outcomes while adjusting for gestational age, small for gestational-age status, and other variables. Of 14,457 ELBW infants, 110 (0.8 %) had isolated CHD, and 13,887 (96 %) had no major birth defect. The most common CHD were septal defects, tetralogy of Fallot, pulmonary valve stenosis, and coarctation of the aorta. Infants with CHD experienced increased mortality (48 % compared with 35 % for infants with no birth defect) and poorer growth. Surprisingly, the adjusted risks of other short-term neonatal morbidities associated with prematurity were not significantly different. Fifty-seven (52 %) infants with CHD survived to 18–22 months’ corrected age, and 49 (86 %) infants completed follow-up. A higher proportion of surviving infants with CHD were impaired compared with those without birth defects (57 vs. 38 %, p = 0.004). Risk of death or NDI was greater for ELBW infants with CHD, although 20% of infants survived without NDI.
heart defects; congenital; follow-up studies
In previous work we (Fisher et al., 2011) examined the emergence of neurobehavioral disinhibition (ND) in adolescents with prenatal substance exposure. We computed ND factor scores at three age points (8/9, 11 and 13/14 years) and found that both prenatal substance exposure and early adversity predicted ND. The purpose of the current study was to determine the association between these ND scores and initiation of substance use between ages 8–16 in this cohort as early initiation of substance use has been related to later substance use disorders. Our hypothesis was that prenatal cocaine exposure predisposes the child to ND, which, in turn, is associated with initiation of substance use by age 16.
We studied 386 cocaine exposed and 517 unexposed children followed since birth in a longitudinal study. Five dichotomous variables were computed based on the subject’s report of substance use: alcohol only; tobacco only; marijuana only; illicit substances and any substance.
Cox proportional hazard regression showed that the 8/9 year ND score was related to initiation of alcohol, tobacco, illicit and any substance use but not marijuana use. The trajectory of ND across the three age periods was related to substance use initiation in all five substance use categories. Prenatal cocaine exposure, although initially related to tobacco, marijuana and illicit substance initiation, was no longer significant with ND scores in the models.
Prenatal drug exposure appears to be a risk pathway to ND, which by 8/9 years portends substance use initiation.
neurodevelopmental disinhibition; substance use initiation; prenatal cocaine exposure
Sepsis in older children and adults modifies immune system function. We compared serotype-specific antibody responses to heptavalent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7) in very low birth weight infants (<1500g,VLBW) with and without blood stream infection (BSI) during their birth hospitalization.
Patients and Methods
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data for the Neonatal Research Network study of PCV7 responses among VLBWs. Infants received PCV7 at 2, 4, and 6 months after birth with blood drawn 4–6 weeks after 3rd dose. Serotype antibodies were compared between infants with or without a history of BSI. Regression models were constructed with birth-weight groups and other confounding factors identified in the primary study.
244 infants completed the vaccine series and had serum antibody available; 82 had BSI. After adjustment, BSI was not associated with reduced odds of serum antibody ≥0.35μg/mL.
BSI was not associated with reduced odds of WHO-defined protective PCV7 responses in VLBWs.
VLBW; immune response; vaccine; sepsis; blood stream infection
To determine if premature infants with invasive Candida infection caused by strains with increased virulence properties have worse clinical outcomes than those infected with less virulent strains.
Clinical isolates were studied from 2 populations; premature infants colonized with Candida (commensal, n=27), and those with invasive candidiasis (n=81). Individual isolates of C. albicans and C. parapsilosis were tested for virulence in each of 3 assays: phenotypic switching, adhesion, and cytotoxicity. Invasive isolates were considered to have enhanced virulence if they measured more than 1 SD above the mean for the commensal isolates in at least 1 assay. Outcomes of patients with invasive isolates with enhanced virulence were compared with those with invasive isolates lacking enhanced virulence characteristics.
61% of invasive isolates of C. albicans and 42% of invasive isolates of C. parapsilosis had enhanced virulence. All C. albicans cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) isolates (n=6) and 90% of urine isolates (n=10) had enhanced virulence, compared with 48% of blood isolates (n=40). Infants with more virulent isolates were younger at the time of positive culture and had higher serum creatinine.
Individual isolates of Candida species vary in their virulence properties. Strains with higher virulence are associated with certain clinical outcomes.
C. albicans; C. parapsilosis; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment; phenotypic switch; adhesion; cytotoxicity
Spontaneous intestinal perforation (SIP) is associated with the use of postnatal glucocorticoids and indometacin in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. We hypothesized: 1) an association of SIP with the use of antenatal steroids (ANS) and indometacin either as prophylaxis for IVH (P Indo) or for treatment of PDA (Indo/PDA) and 2) an increased risk of death or abnormal neurodevelopmental outcomes in infants with SIP at 18-22 months corrected age.
We retrospectively identified ELBW infants with SIP in the Neonatal Research Network’s generic database. Unadjusted analysis identified the differences in maternal, neonatal and clinical variables between infants with and without SIP. Logistic regression analysis identified the adjusted odds ratio for SIP with reference to ANS, P Indo and Indo/PDA. Neurodevelopmental outcomes were assessed among survivors at 18 to 22 months corrected age.
Indo/PDA was associated with an increased risk of SIP (adjusted OR 1.61; 95% CI 1.25,2.08), while P Indo and ANS were not. SIP was independently associated with an increased risk of death or NDI (adjusted OR−1.85; 95% CI 1.32,2.60) and NDI among survivors (adjusted OR−1.75, 95% CI 1.20,2.55).
Indometacin used for IVH prophylaxis and ANS were not associated with the occurrence of SIP in ELBW infants. Indometacin used for treatment of symptomatic PDA was however associated with an increased risk of SIP. ELBW infants with SIP have an increased risk of poor neurodevelopmental outcomes.
extremely low birth weight infant; intestinal perforation; indometacin; cerebral palsy
To assess the impact of emperic antifungal therapy of invasive candidiasis on subsequent outcomes in premature infants.
This was a cohort study of infants ≤1000 g birth weight cared for at Neonatal Research Network sites. All infants had at least 1 positive culture for Candida. Emperic antifungal therapy was defined as receipt of a systemic antifungal on the day of or the day before the first positive culture for Candida was drawn. We created Cox proportional hazards and logistic regression models stratified on propensity score quartiles to determine the effect of emperic antifungal therapy on survival, time to clearance of infection, retinopathy of prematurity, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, end-organ damage, and neurodevelopmental impairment (NDI).
136 infants developed invasive candidiasis. The incidence of death or NDI was lower for infants who received emperic antifungal therapy (19/38, 50%) compared with those who had not (55/86, 64%; odds ratio=0.27 [95% confidence interval 0.08–0.86]). There was no significant difference between the groups for any single outcome or other combined outcomes.
Emperic antifungal therapy was associated with increased survival without NDI. A prospective randomized trial of this strategy is warranted.
Candida; neonate; mortality; neurodevelopmental impairment
The effect of birth location on hypothermia-related outcomes has not been rigorously examined in the literature. In this study, we determined whether birth location had an impact on the benefits of whole-body cooling to 33.5 °C for 72 h in term infants (n = 208) with hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) who participated in the Neonatal Research Network (NRN) randomized controlled trial.
Heterogeneity by birth location was examined with respect to cooling treatment for the 18-mo primary outcomes (death, moderate disability, severe disability) and secondary outcomes (death, components of disability), and in-hospital organ dysfunction. Logistic regression models were used to generate adjusted odds ratios.
Infants bom at a location other than an NRN center (outborn) (n = 93) experienced significant delays in initiation of therapy (mean (SD): 5.5 (1.1) vs. 4.4 (1.2) h), lower baseline temperatures (36.6 (1.2) vs. 37.1 (0.9) °C), and more severe HIE (43 vs. 29%) than infants born in an NRN center (inborn) (n = 115). Maternal education <12 y (50 vs. 14%) and African-American ethnicity (43 vs. 25%) were more common in the inborn group. When adjusted for NRN center and HIE severity, there were no significant differences in 18-mo outcomes or in-hospital organ dysfunction between inborn and outborn infants.
Although limited by sample size and some differences in baseline characteristics, the study showed that birth location does not appear to modify the treatment effect of hypothermia after HIE.
The objective of our study was to examine the relationship between brain injury and outcome following neonatal hypoxic–ischaemic encephalopathy treated with hypothermia.
Design and patients
Neonatal MRI scans were evaluated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) randomised controlled trial of whole-body hypothermia and each infant was categorised based upon the pattern of brain injury on the MRI findings. Brain injury patterns were assessed as a marker of death or disability at 18–22 months of age.
Scans were obtained on 136 of 208 trial participants (65%); 73 in the hypothermia and 63 in the control group. Normal scans were noted in 38 of 73 infants (52%) in the hypothermia group and 22 of 63 infants (35%) in the control group. Infants in the hypothermia group had fewer areas of infarction (12%) compared to infants in the control group (22%). Fifty-one of the 136 infants died or had moderate or severe disability at 18 months. The brain injury pattern correlated with outcome of death or disability and with disability among survivors. Each point increase in the severity of the pattern of brain injury was independently associated with a twofold increase in the odds of death or disability.
Fewer areas of infarction and a trend towards more normal scans were noted in brain MRI following whole-body hypothermia. Presence of the NICHD pattern of brain injury is a marker of death or moderate or severe disability at 18–22 months following hypothermia for neonatal encephalopathy.
The impact of maternal substance abuse is reflected in the 2002–2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Among pregnant women in the 15–44 age group, 4.3%, 18% and 9.8% used illicit drugs, tobacco and alcohol, respectively. Maternal pregnancy complications following substance use include increases in sexually transmitted disorders, placental abruption and HIV-positive status. Effects on the neonate include a decrease in growth parameters and increases in central nervous system and autonomic nervous system signs and in referrals to child protective agencies. In childhood, behavioral and cognitive effects are seen after prenatal cocaine exposure; tobacco and alcohol have separate and specific effects. The ongoing use of alcohol and tobacco by the caretaker affects childhood behavior. Therefore, efforts should be made to prevent and treat behavioral problems as well as to limit the onset of drug use by adolescent children born to women who use drugs during pregnancy.
Alcohol; Child medicine; Cocaine; Neonatal; Neurobehavioral outcome; Polydrug use; Tobacco
Permanent ductal closure involves anatomic remodeling, in which transforming growth factor (TGF)-β appears to play a role. Our objective was to evaluate the relationship, if any, between blood spot TGF-β on day 3 and day 7 of life and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) in extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants. Prospective observational study involving ELBW infants (n = 968) in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network who had TGF-β measured on filter paper spot blood samples using a Luminex assay. Infants with a PDA (n = 493) were significantly more immature, had lower birth weights, and had higher rates of respiratory distress syndrome than those without PDA (n = 475). TGF-β on days 3 and 7 of life, respectively, were significantly lower among neonates with PDA (median 1,177 pg/ml [range 642–1,896]; median 1,386 pg/ml [range 868–1,913]) compared with others without PDA (median 1,334 pg/ml [range 760–2,064]; median 1,712 pg/ml [range 1,014–2,518 pg/ml]). The significant difference persisted when death or PDA was considered a composite outcome. TGF-β levels were not significantly different among subgroups of infants with PDA who were not treated (n = 51) versus those who were treated medically (n = 283) or by surgical ligation (n = 159). TGF-β was not a significant predictor of death or PDA (day 3 odds ratio [OR] 0.99, 95 % confidence interval [CI] 0.83–1.17; day 7 OR 0.88, 95 % CI 0.74–1.04) on adjusted analyses. Our results suggest that blood spot TGF-β alone is unlikely to be a reliable biomarker of a clinically significant PDA or its responsiveness to treatment.
Transforming growth factor; Patent ductus arteriosus; Preterm; Neonate
To evaluate maternal and neonatal risk factors associated with post-neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge mortality among ELBW infants.
This is a retrospective analysis of extremely low birth weight (<1,000 g) and <27 weeks' gestational age infants born in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Neonatal Research Network sites from January 2000 to June 2007. Infants were tracked until death or 18–22 months corrected age. Infants who died between NICU discharge and the 18–22 month follow-up visit were classified as post-NICU discharge mortality. Association of maternal and infant risk factors with post-NICU discharge mortality was determined using logistic regression analysis. A prediction model with six significant predictors was developed and validated.
5,364 infants survived to NICU discharge. 557 (10%) infants were lost to follow-up, and 107 infants died following NICU discharge. Post-NICU discharge mortality rate was 22.3 per 1000 ELBW infants. In the prediction model, African-American race, unknown maternal health insurance, and hospital stay ≥120 days significantly increased risk, and maternal exposure to intra-partum antibiotics was associated with decreased risk of post-NICU discharge mortality.
We identified African-American race, unknown medical insurance and prolonged NICU stay as risk factors associated with post-NICU discharge mortality among ELBW infants.
extremely preterm infants; discharge; mortality; predictive model
Methods are required to predict prognosis with changes in clinical course. Death or neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely premature neonates can be predicted at birth/admission to the ICU by considering gender, antenatal steroids, multiple birth, birth weight, and gestational age. Predictions may be improved by using additional information available later during the clinical course. Our objective was to develop serial predictions of outcome by using prognostic factors available over the course of NICU hospitalization.
Data on infants with birth weight ≤1.0 kg admitted to 18 large academic tertiary NICUs during 1998–2005 were used to develop multivariable regression models following stepwise variable selection. Models were developed by using all survivors at specific times during hospitalization (in delivery room [n = 8713], 7-day [n = 6996], 28-day [n = 6241], and 36-week postmenstrual age [n = 5118]) to predict death or death/neurodevelopmental impairment at 18 to 22 months.
Prediction of death or neurodevelopmental impairment in extremely premature infants is improved by using information available later during the clinical course. The importance of birth weight declines, whereas the importance of respiratory illness severity increases with advancing postnatal age. The c-statistic in validation models ranged from 0.74 to 0.80 with misclassification rates ranging from 0.28 to 0.30.
Dynamic models of the changing probability of individual outcome can improve outcome predictions in preterm infants. Various current and future scenarios can be modeled by input of different clinical possibilities to develop individual “outcome trajectories” and evaluate impact of possible morbidities on outcome.
logistic models; premature infant; predictive value of tests; prognosis
We compared neurodevelopmental outcomes of extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), using the physiologic definition.
ELBW (birth weights <1000 grams) infants admitted to the Neonatal Research Network centers and hospitalized at 36 weeks postmenstrual age (n=1,189) were classified using the physiologic definition of BPD. Infants underwent Bayley III assessment at 18-22 months corrected age. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the association between physiologic BPD and cognitive impairment (score < 70).
BPD by the physiologic definition was diagnosed in 603 (52%) infants, 537 of whom were mechanically ventilated or on FiO2 > 30% and 66 who failed the room air challenge. Infants on room air (n=505) and those who passed the room air challenge (n=51) were classified as “no BPD” (n=556). At follow up, infants with BPD had significantly lower mean weight and head circumference. Moderate to severe cerebral palsy (7 vs. 2.1%) and spastic diplegia (7.8 vs. 4.1%) and quadriplegia (3.9 vs. 0.9%) phenotypes as well as cognitive (12.8 vs. 4.6%) and language scores < 70 (24.2 vs. 12.3%) were significantly more frequent in those with BPD compared to those without BPD. BPD was independently associated (adjusted OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.40-4.13) with cognitive impairment.
Rates of adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in early childhood were significantly higher in those with BPD. BPD by the physiologic definition was independently associated with cognitive impairment using Bayley Scales III. These findings have implications for targeted post-discharge surveillance and early intervention.
Outcome; preterm; bronchopulmonary dysplasia; physiologic definition
Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) is associated with blunted stress responsivity within the extrauterine environment. This study investigated the association between PCE and diurnal salivary cortisol levels in preadolescent children characterized by high biological and/or social risk (N = 725). Saliva samples were collected at their home. Analyses revealed no group differences in basal evening or morning cortisol levels; however, children with higher degrees of PCE exhibited blunted overnight increases in cortisol, controlling for additional risk factors. Race and caregiver depression were also associated with diurnal cortisol patterns. While repeated PCE may contribute to alterations in the normal or expected stress response later in life, sociodemographic and environmental factors are likewise important in understanding hormone physiology, especially as more time elapses from the PCE. Anticipating the potential long-term medical, developmental, or behavioral effects of an altered ability to mount a normal protective cortisol stress response is essential in optimizing the outcomes of children with PCE.
We sought to determine if a center’s approach to care of premature infants at the youngest gestational ages (22–24 weeks’ gestation) is associated with clinical outcomes among infants of older gestational ages (25–27 weeks’ gestation).
Inborn infants of 401 to 1000 g birth weight and 22 0/7 to 27 6/7 weeks’ gestation at birth from 2002 to 2008 were enrolled into a prospectively collected database at 20 centers participating in the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network. Markers of an aggressive approach to care for 22- to 24-week infants included use of antenatal corticosteroids, cesarean delivery, and resuscitation. The primary outcome was death before postnatal day 120 for infants of 25 to 27 weeks’ gestation. Secondary outcomes were the combined outcomes of death or a number of morbidities associated with prematurity.
Our study included 3631 infants 22 to 24 weeks’ gestation and 5227 infants 25 to 27 weeks’ gestation. Among the 22- to 24-week infants, use of antenatal corticosteroids ranged from 28% to 100%, cesarean delivery from 13% to 65%, and resuscitation from 30% to 100% by center. Centers with higher rates of antenatal corticosteroid use in 22- to 24-week infants had reduced rates of death, death or retinopathy of prematurity, death or late-onset sepsis, death or necrotizing enterocolitis, and death or neurodevelopmental impairment in 25- to 27-week infants.
This study suggests that physicians’ willingness to provide care to extremely low gestation infants as measured by frequency of use of antenatal corticosteroids is associated with improved outcomes for more-mature infants.
low-birth weight infant; NICUs; treatment; patient outcome assessment
This study evaluated how enrollment in special education services in 11 year old children relates to prenatal cocaine exposure, psychopathology, and other risk factors.
Participants were 498 children enrolled in The Maternal Lifestyle Study, a prospective, longitudinal, multisite study examining outcomes of children with prenatal cocaine exposure. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure and psychopathology on enrollment in an individualized education plan (a designation specific to children with special education needs), with environmental, maternal, and infant medical variables as covariates.
Prenatal cocaine exposure, an interaction of prenatal cocaine exposure and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, child Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, parent-reported internalizing behaviors, and teacher-reported externalizing behaviors, predicted enrollment in an individualized education plan. Other statistically significant variables in the model were male gender, low birth weight, being small for gestational age, white race, caregiver change, low socio-economic status, low child intelligence quotient, caregiver depression, and prenatal marijuana exposure.
Prenatal cocaine exposure increased the likelihood of receiving an individualized education plan with adjustment for covariates. Psychopathology also predicted this special education outcome, in combination with and independent of prenatal cocaine exposure.
cocaine; special education; behavior; prenatal substance exposure
Information on cytokine profiles in fungal sepsis (FS), an important cause of mortality in extremely low birthweight infants (ELBW), is lacking. We hypothesized that cytokine profiles in the 1st 21 days of life in ELBW with FS differ from those with bacterial sepsis (BS) or no sepsis (NS).
In a secondary analyses of the NICHD Cytokine study, three groups were defined - FS (≥1 episode of FS), BS (≥1 episode of BS without FS), and NS. Association between 11 cytokines assayed in dried blood spots obtained on days 0-1, 3±1, 7±2, 14±3, and 21±3 and sepsis group was explored.
Of 1066 infants, 89 had FS and 368 had BS. Compared to BS, FS was more likely to be associated with lower birthweight, vaginal delivery, patent ductus arteriosus, postnatal steroids, multiple central lines, longer respiratory support and hospital stay, and higher mortality (p<0.05). Analyses controlling for covariates showed significant group differences over time for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α (p<0.05).
Significant differences in profiles for IFN-γ, IL-10, IL-18, TGF-β and TNF-α in FS, BS or NS in this hypothesis-generating secondary study require validation in rigorously designed prospective studies and may have implications for diagnosis and treatment.
To examine the predictive ability of stage of hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) for death or moderate/severe disability at 18 months among neonates undergoing hypothermia.
Stage of encephalopathy was evaluated at <6 hr of age, during study intervention and at discharge among 204 participants in the NICHD Neonatal Research Network Trial of whole body hypothermia for HIE. HIE was examined as a predictor of outcome by regression models.
Moderate and severe HIE occurred at <6 hrs of age among 68% and 32% of 101 hypothermia group infants and 60% and 40% of 103 control group infants, respectively. At 24 and 48 hrs of study intervention, infants in the hypothermia group had less severe HIE than infants in the control group. Persistence of severe HIE at 72 hrs increased the risk of death or disability after controlling for treatment group. The discharge exam improved the predictive value of stage of HIE at < 6hrs for death/disability.
On serial neurological examinations, improvement in stage of HIE was associated with cooling. Persistence of severe HIE at 72 hours and an abnormal neurological exam at discharge was associated with a greater risk of death or disability.
Neurological examinations; neonates; clinical biomarker; death; disability
Data are limited on the impact of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) on morbidity and mortality among very low birth weight (VLBW) infants with S aureus (SA) bacteremia and/or meningitis (B/M).
Neonatal data for VLBW infants (birth weight 401–1500 g) born January 1, 2006, to December 31, 2008, who received care at centers of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Neonatal Research Network were collected prospectively. Early-onset (≤72 hours after birth) and late-onset (>72 hours) infections were defined by blood or cerebrospinal fluid cultures and antibiotic treatment of ≥5 days (or death <5 days with intent to treat). Outcomes were compared for infants with MRSA versus methicillin-susceptible S aureus (MSSA) B/M.
Of 8444 infants who survived >3 days, 316 (3.7%) had SA B/M. Eighty-eight had MRSA (1% of all infants, 28% of infants with SA); 228 had MSSA (2.7% of all infants, 72% of infants with SA). No infant had both MRSA and MSSA B/M. Ninety-nine percent of MRSA infections were late-onset. The percent of infants with MRSA varied by center (P < .001) with 9 of 20 centers reporting no cases. Need for mechanical ventilation, diagnosis of respiratory distress syndrome, necrotizing enterocolitis, and other morbidities did not differ between infants with MRSA and MSSA. Mortality was high with both MRSA (23 of 88, 26%) and MSSA (55 of 228, 24%).
Few VLBW infants had SA B/M. The 1% with MRSA had morbidity and mortality rates similar to infants with MSSA. Practices should provide equal focus on prevention and management of both MRSA and MSSA infections among VLBW infants.
Staphylococcus aureus; methicillin resistant; infant; newborn
Although selective or whole body cooling combined with optimal intensive care improves outcomes following neonatal encephalopathy in high-income countries, the safety and efficacy of cooling in low-and middle-income countries is not known.
We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of all published randomised or quasi-randomised controlled trials of cooling therapy for neonatal encephalopathy in low-and middle-income countries.
Seven trials, comprising a total of 567 infants were included in the meta-analysis. Most study infants had mild (15%) or moderate encephalopathy (48%) and did not receive invasive ventilation (88%). Cooling devices included water-circulating cooling caps, frozen gel packs, ice, water bottles, and phase-changing material. No statistically significant reduction in neonatal mortality was seen with cooling (risk ratio: 0.74, 95% confidence intervals: 0.44 to 1.25). Data on other neonatal morbidities and long-term neurological outcomes were insufficient.
Cooling therapy was not associated with a statistically significant reduction in neonatal mortality in low-and middle-income countries although the confidence intervals were wide and not incompatible with results seen in high-income countries. The apparent lack of treatment effect may be due to the heterogeneity and poor quality of the included studies, inefficiency of the low technology cooling devices, lack of optimal neonatal intensive care, sedation and ventilatory support, overuse of oxygen, or may be due to the intrinsic difference in the population, for example higher rates of perinatal infection, obstructed labor, intrauterine growth retardation and maternal malnutrition. Evaluation of the safety and efficacy of cooling in adequately powered randomised controlled trials is required before cooling is offered in routine clinical practice in low-and middle-income countries.